At the heart of the metropolitan county of Merseyside is Liverpool, once a by-word for urban decline, it has reinvented itself in recent years, a transformation crowned by its role as European City of Culture in 2008.The city boasts two magnificent cathedrals, both of which should be on the itinerary of any visitor to the city, and football fans are sure to want to visit the grounds of Liverpool or Everton. There are many organised walks and tours covering all aspects of city life and the Mersey ferry is a favourite way of admiring the city’s transformed waterfront. Aintree is the home of the world’s most famous steeplechase, the Grand National, and Merseyside has another major racecourse in Haydock Park at Newton-le-Willows. Outside the city, Merseyside has its fair share of grand houses and rural attractions. Notable among these are Croxteth Hall and Country Park, Knowsley Safari Park and the National Trust’s Speke Hall.
Manchester comprises the districts of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. Manchester, like Liverpool, has been transformed over the past few years, and is notable for many fine buildings; some, like the Town Hall and the Cathedral, have long been city landmarks, while the new generation of buildings include Trinity Bridge and the City of Manchester Stadium. The city’s museums and galleries are the most numerous and diverse outside the capital, ranging from the Museum of Science & Industry to the John Rylands Library and the Whitworth Gallery. In Salford, the Lowry is a stunning cultural complex overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal.
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